— Revisited: $10 Million UU Wedding — What Was I Thinking?

July 10, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Online Ministry | 1 Comment

A little more than a year ago, I posted a piece about the UU clergy officiated $10 million wedding of Sean Parker (b. 1979), a billionaire who founded Napster, an Internet company that tectonically changed the music industry worldwide and who was facebook’s first president. He also created Causes, a pioneering web-based non-profit that is a clearinghouse for non-profit fundraising. I said in that post that there was significant benefit to all the publicity the wedding attracted.  A year later, I’ve changed my mind 180 degrees. More on why in a sec. But first, a little bit more to refresh your memory about what was in the news at the time about this event.

Some people then wondered what a UU minister was doing officiating such an over-the-top wedding. It ended with the groom being fined by a government body for what was done to the public forest/park to accommodate the wedding.

I suggested in my original post that if we put aside the obscene spend for part of Parker’s nuptials, we could see that UU ism couldn’t get better free international coverage.  It was international news because Parker spent $10M to create a sanctuary in a park for the ceremony. He designed it after scenes in the HBO series, King of Thrones.

I have been watching the first season and part of the second season of this show and can’t go any further. I shouldn’t have gone this far. King of Thrones is a well marketed, disguised vehicle to promote excruciating violence against women – rape is the least of it. And violence against even new borns. Routine mutilations and murders of babies and kids, my friends, are portrayed graphically. I’ve come to the conclusion that many dramas cloak themselves in historical garb and easily believable representations of days of yore to get away with behavior that is not tolerated today. I don’t watch Mad Men for this reason. Costume dramas, visually, aren’t about the modern day. They make it harder to see that the show is a gratuitous ruse to express behavior that belies the values of a growing majority of people in the USA. The underlying contemporary rage that’s created  King of Thrones is spectacularly obscene. It’s historical slash and burn porn.

Somebody, please tell me what redeeming values you see in this show? Its fantasy-genre leitmotifs are nothing new. It’s aesthetic homage to massively multi-player online games is stale. To me it’s nothing more than a nighttime soap opera based on rage against anything but white male western power structures.

Which brings me back to the UU Game of Thrones inspired wedding. I believe that the environments in which we conduct sacred acts, such as wedding ceremonies, shouldn’t be taken for granted, or oooh-ed and ahhhhh-ed for their splendor, without an understanding of what inspired them.  And yet I got giddy thinking about the marketing potential of such an act. I wrote the blog post about the marketing benefit of the wedding to UUism without any knowledge of the show.

A wedding in a Game of Thrones-inspired environment speaks of the wedding party’s likes and dislikes. I don’t know any of the people involved but had I been invited, based on previous behavior, I would have  walked out. The “sanctuary” made for this wedding was pretty for despots, despoilers, kings etc. It is hell on earth in the HBO series for everyone else.

If you’re looking for very good entertainment that echos UU values in a costume drama, try “From Lark Rise to Candleford,” a British show that portrayed a country life in the 1800s. It portrays life in a town and how its people worked together, regardless of class and gender, to solve community and individuals problems, caused by power imbalances. You can see it through Netflix.

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  1. My comment is about technical writing stuff here. The headline and first paragraph recapitulate something which the main reflection casts aside. But the main reflection has significant merit, and its topic is nowhere hinted to my casual eye.

    Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let me say that my wife and I have paid no attention whatsoever to the Game of Thrones phenomenon, and sometimes I wonder if I should. Thanks to this post for relieving us of that concern. We will pursue our cultural literacy in other areas.


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